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​Disability - When the initial decision finds no "nexus"
What is the "nexus" and why is it important? 


Friedman Disability

Serving Disabled Veterans Nationwide

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There is no substitute

for the veteran claimant who is involved and informed. Once you've learned how the system really works, filing correctly...getting it right the first time...isn't that hard to do. Educate yourself by reading what the experts have to say.

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Drew Early, Veterans Law Attorney

West Point Graduate - 20 Years Army Service - Airborne - Explosive Ordnance Badge

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Appeals of Veterans & Survivor Claims

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Brett Valette, Ph.D.

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Some Wounds Cannot Be Seen

Nexus Letters     Independent Medical Opinions   Psych DBQs

​(303) 465-3147


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Hodes Milman LLP

​VA Malpractice Attorneys Helping Veterans Harmed By The VA

​​Veterans Healthcare Rights - Federal Tort Claims - VA Medical Malpractice Claims,

Misdiagnosis, ​Hospital Negligence, Medical Errors

For a review of your VA malpractice case contact our lawyers today. Our firm serves throughout

the nation, and is one of the few firms to have specialized experience in VA malpractice cases.

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Gregory Rada

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&​
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The Law Offices of David Anaise, MD JD

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Has Your Claim Been Denied?   Do you need an IMO or a DBQ?
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Nationwide Representation     Free Claim Evaluation

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Healing Invisible Wounds

A Look at a Major Push on Veteran's Mental Health

Delay, deny, until they all die.

How to Fight VA Debt
Military members know that when DoD gives

you too much money, it will come back for it.

The VA is similar, but the system is worse.

Hey Jim,


​This is one that VAWatchdog readers should be aware of Skaar v. Wilkie, 17-2574, CAVC, Feb 1 2019


“We are overruling more than 2 decades of Court caselaw and changing long-established procedural norms in order to provide a mechanism for the Board to cure any "common" legal defects that exist in a named appellant's case in order for class action litigation to continue unencumbered.”  Judge Schoelen.

This is kind of a big deal for two reasons:

It overturns previous precedential law that served to voluntarily limit the CAVC’s oversight of appeals remanded back to the Board of Veterans Appeals.  CAVC is now telling VA that they are retaining jurisdiction in this particular case, so I would expect VA will be a bit more responsive in the remand.


This is also another potential class action case.  Watchdog readers may recall how bitterly VA fought against class action certification in any case and that was overturned only recently (in the Monk case).  Skaar is another potential class action case, for that class of veterans involved in the Palomares Spain nuclear cleanup.

More and more, class action suits against the VA appear to be viable.  That can be a huge tool when used effectively, especially to address apparent lack of due process issues in adjudicating or appealing benefits claims.  This is a type of judicial scrutiny that VA has never had to deal with before, but is commonplace for he rest of he government.  I applaud this decision.


/s/ 
Drew Early, Esq.​​

Jobs For Veterans​ - Grow with Google
Free training, tools to help you grow your skills, career, or business.

Robert Wilkie  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​855-948-2311

Stanford research finds flaws in veterans’ claims system
Stanford researchers examining the veterans’ appeals process find that legal errors and due process mistakes while processing claims are much higher than publicly reported.

Research identified five key themes surrounding Veterans’ needs, perceptions and expectations during the appeals process:
* The length and labor of the process takes a toll on Veterans’ lives.
* Like in the military, Veterans care deeply about the outcomes of other Veterans.
* Veterans feel alone in a process they don’t understand.
* The appeals process feels like a fight.
* Veterans want to be heard.

Bankrupt vets can lose their disability benefits.

This new effort would protect them.

egal.org

Why does VA want to catalog your genetic material? Hmmm?

VA Receives $25 Million Donation to Provide Genetic Testing for Veterans

DNA, genetic genealogy...'Biggest crime-fighting breakthrough in decades'

Detectives across the country said they were able to locate suspects in 28 cold cases this year

after uploading crime scene DNA to GEDmatch.com

C&P Service Clinician’s Guide

Scheduled For A C & P???    Filing A Claim?

This is a must read for you!!!

I've been posting this again and again over the years and it's still one of the best ways I know to win your case. Published in 2002 the principles and much of the verbiage still applies and is in daily use at the VA. 

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.

INSIDE TRUMP’S VA
VA’s Private Care Program Headed for Tech Trouble...    “These people are out of their minds,” one VA doctor said.

For more information about the hearing loss lawsuit and a free case evaluation talk with

attorney Roger Hale

(405) 531-9983

ADLs are terms used to describe your disability​

Use the same language that VA uses to increase your chance of success!

VAWatchdog Readers...What you see below is an abbreviated version of the Bash Bulletin. Click here to read every word.

The Bash Bulletin February 2019

Memo From: Craig N. Bash, M.D. Neuro-Radiologist
www.veteransmedadvisor.com

To: All veterans   Date: 7 March 2019   Topic: Initial Claim Success in 2019

There are new rules for 2019 and I have been told that some VA raters have been given 30 min to do claims, told not to do any new testing or obtain any new medical opinions and to simply deny all claims if the do not contain testing (DBQs) or medical nexus opinions. Thus, to be successful in 2019 the following are essential.

Initial claims: Focus the claim and identify all potential secondary conditions upfront, don’t group claims and don’t let VA/VSO or any assistant group claims because the grouped claim is the lowest possible rating.

​Process: Get your claim developed correctly right out to the starting blocks because the new system has less flexibility for the rater to help develop the claim along the way.

Recommendations: Build the claim correctly from the beginning with medical records, lay letters, nexus opinions on all issues, DBQ, testing and law quotes.  Each of these steps should be produced with care and precision. 
Don’t take the higher-level review lane.
FYI *** VA has a new policy of “ No Form No Benefit” (NFNB) so please do all VA forms as carefully as possible.
The use of a scribe (ghost writer) to help produce continuous symptom lay letters and the use of an accredited agent are prudent steps 
/s/ Craig N. Bash M.D.  Associate Professor   <
drbash@doctor.com>   Cell 240-506-1556

Jim's Mailbag

Hey Jim...I'd like to ask you a question about:

​​Property taxes and disabled vets,  Medical malpractice claims against VA, I can't seem to buy a house, Disabled vet

needs family law representation, Losing a kidney, Sexual assault in a DOD school, Marijuana, How to find a

lawyer, What kinds of questions can the VA examiner ask, Erroneous hair drug test, VA can't take compensation

to pay child support and a whole lot of other topics of interest to active military, veterans and their families.

Office of Research & Development - Million Veteran Program (MVP)

​MVP will build one of the world's largest medical databases by safely collecting

blood samples and health information from one million Veterans.​​

A Vet Representing Vets  ​​OEF/OIF Veteran ​ 

​ ​(844) 385-5665

Overpayment? VA proposing to claw back money from your benefits? Submit a Compromise Offer to the Debt Management Center. 

This is the only thing that works. 

​"If you are unable to pay the debt in full or clear the debt in a reasonable timeframe through monthly payments, we can consider a compromise offer.  A compromise means we can accept a lesser amount of money as full settlement of your debt."

Birth defect numbers in children of Vietnam veterans alarm experts

​Rates of cancer, learning disabilities and physical birth defects in the children of Vietnam veterans are staggering when compared to those in children of non-veterans.

Bash Bulletin     Prostate cancer reduction   

Trump budget chief: Cutting veterans pay isn't a big deal

​​Trump's acting budget director said there's no downside to the administration's proposal to take money from veterans benefits. The cold dismissal of veterans' concerns is the latest in a long line of slights and attacks on the military from Trump. He largely views the armed services as a useful backdrop for his presidency, via venues like parades, rather than as an institution to be supported and respected.

Quality review of mass adjudication:

a randomized natural experiment at the board of veterans appeals, 2003-16

Vietnam veteran?  High blood pressure?

You should file a claim 

The Academies of Sciences

egal.org

Owe VA Money??? 

Submit A Waiver Request

Jim's Mailbag

Jim Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA disability benefits

and a member of the Stateside Legal Website Advisory BoardJim's Mailbag, is a regular column where veterans,

servicemembers, and family members can  ask Jim their questions about VA and Social Security disability benefits.  

You can browse all of these Q&As here, and search the Jim's Mailbag archives for helpful answers.

If Jim hasn't already addressed the questions you have, you can submit your own question. 

Retiring judge calls VA appeals system a 'tragedy'

​​The retiring chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims told lawmakers Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs appeals system is “ancient” and “inefficient” and in need of drastic change.

Legal Help

Criminal Law

Social Security may use your Facebook and Instagram photos to nix disability claims

Careful what you post online.

The Social Security Administration may start screening your Facebook and Instagram posts to evaluate your disability claim. 

Are you TDIU - Unemployability Rated?

Hey Jim, 

The Court has now provided a detailed and substantive definition of "substantially gainful employment". The Court Is following the Social Security definition of same, thus overriding decades of inaction by VA to define what SGA really means.  Now we know; its laid out clearly and follows the same definition as other government agencies use. 

Wow!  Why didn’t that happen a long time ago?

​/s/ Drew Early​​


Case Number:17-781 Docketed: 03/20/2017
Eddie D. Ray v. Robert L. Wilkie
Appeal From: Department of Veteran Affairs

Evaluating claims:Disability examiners shouldn’t rely on social media
Investigations of Social Security disability claims must not rely on rickety evidence

egal.org

Does VA conduct random drug screens?

Can they do that? Is there a policy?

The NPRC

Military Records DD 214

Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
Official Personnel Folders (OPF)

When the VA misrepresents performance, veterans suffer

Veterans suffer from this misrepresentation. The volume of veterans’ appeals is huge. The vast majority are related to disability compensation claims. Some 90 BVA judges decide cases, with an “inventory” of over 425,000 cases pending. A veteran must wait seven years for the BVA to decide his or her case. If the decision is incorrect, the veteran must hire a lawyer, appeal yet again, and spend years to get the error fixed. Veterans are caught in this “churn” of appeals, creating extreme cynicism among some veterans groups. In one veteran’s assessment, VA’s error-prone case handling consists of “delay, deny, hope they die.”​

Bash Bulletin  C & P Exams